Government touts MAREN milestones

A cross-section of all delegates during the meeting

The Ministry of Information and Digitalization (MoID) has emphasized the critical role of the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN) in enhancing the quality of education in the country.

The Ministry in partnership with the Private Public Partnership Commission (PPPC) provided financial support and bandwidth to MAREN under the Digital Malawi Project (DIGMAP) to enhance its service delivery to higher learning and research institutions.

Speaking on Friday during a visit to the Malawi University of Business and Applied (MUBAS), a beneficiary of MAREN, Secretary for Information and Digitalization, Baldwin Chiyamwaka said the government has enhanced internet connectivity in higher learning institutions to boost learning, teaching, and research standards.

Chiyamwaka: The MAREN project is very crucial

He noted that students have the flexibility to access the internet and innovative online education content across their campuses, a significant improvement from the past when internet access was limited to specific areas such as computer laboratories and libraries. 

“Through MAREN, we have installed internet access points in 84 institutions of higher learning including all public universities in Malawi to enable particularly students to access the internet and innovative online education content at their convenience which was not the case in the past,” Chiyamwaka stated.

He further stressed the importance of internet access for universities’ Open Distance Learning (ODL) Programs, noting that it has greatly enhanced students’ experiences and performances.

In his remarks, the Network and Infrastructure Officer for MAREN, Alexious Chipalamwazani said the project benefits over 100,000 students, far surpassing the initial target of 15,000.

Chipalamwazani: We surpassed the target.

However, he expressed concern over the vandalism of fiber cables which disrupts service delivery to higher learning and research institutions.

Anthony Ziba, Head of ICT at MUBAS, disclosed that the institution is benefiting from the project through advanced internet connectivity and extension of the network, increased bandwidth, and enhanced value-added services.

Ziba: The Project is vital.

The MAREN project has established widespread access points across the MUBAS campus, benefiting students, faculty members, and researchers.